In collaboration with the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), a partnership established in 1969 among the National Park Service, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Library of Congress, CAD vendor Autodesk is participating in an effort to document the key historic sites and structures that depict America’s greatest engineering and industrial achievements.
The sole purpose of HAER is to create a permanent documentary record of the country’s engineering and industrial legacy, including bridges, major ships, railroads, canals, even classic buildings like steam-powered lumber mills and hallmarks like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Click on the image below to see some of the projects.
The Great Flight Cage is part of the aviary at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (more commonly known as the National Zoo), which is one of the oldest zoos in the US.
(Source: National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey)
What Autodesk brings to the project is its 3D tools, particularly its AutoCAD design package and its work with partners around 3D point clouds. 3D point clouds refer to a set of vertices in a three-dimensional coordinate system, which are typically used to represent the external surface of an object. Autodesk is leveraging 3D laser scanning technology from Leica Geosystems and software from its development partner, kubit, to help HAER capture point clouds of data to create a 3D image of the renowned sites.
HAER is calling on AutoCAD’s point-cloud rendering engine and kubit’s software, which transforms the point cloud data into something AutoCAD’s 2D and 3D modeling engines can understand. Once a 3D model and 2D drawing of the historic site or structure is created, the documentation is housed in the Library of Congress for access by the general public, ensuring that future generations have a window into the country’s industrial achievements.
Autodesk’s collaboration is one of many similar point cloud efforts underway to archive culture heritage sites and structures around the globe. One of the more prominent organizations engaged in this is CyArk, a non-profit that employs laser scanning and digital modeling, among other technologies, to digitally preserve cultural landmarks -- everything from the Mount Rushmore National Memorial to Pompeii and the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, Italy.